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Monday, 17 March 2014

Like SA, Europe revisits its own trade treaties

THE European Union (EU), which was originally scathing about South Africa’s unilateral decision to ditch bilateral investment treaties it had agreed with member states, is now supportive of a key provision in the government’s proposed draft Investment Promotion and Protection Bill, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
He said last week he regarded this as vindication of South Africa’s position in wanting to modernise its investment protection regime.
One aim of the bill is to create space for the government to introduce policies in the national interest without this being disputed by foreign investors on the grounds it changes the rules of the game and undermines their interests.
A prime example of this is the legal opposition by multinational cigarette and tobacco company Philip Morris to a law in Australia requiring plain packaging for cigarettes. The group claims this is in breach of its bilateral investment treaty with the country.
Mr Davies said in an interview that at the recent meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he had remarked to EU trade commissioner Karl de Gucht that he found it "very interesting" the EU was debating the content of its investment treaties in its negotiations with the US.

Source: BDLive.co.za

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